Chris Andersen (born July 7, 1978) is an American professional basketball player for the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association. Nicknamed “Birdman”, the 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m), 228 lb (103 kg; 16.3 st) center/power forward received a two year ban from the NBA in 2006 for violating the league’s drug policy, but was reinstated on March 4, 2008, and re-signed by the Hornets the next day.
Andersen was born in Long Beach, California, grew up in Iola, Texas, and played one year at Blinn College. He went undrafted in the1999 NBA Draft and began his professional career in the Chinese Basketball League, and has played in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets and the New Orleans Hornets.
NBA Development League
Slam Dunk Contest
Expulsion and reinstatement
On January 25, 2006, Andersen was disqualified from the NBA for violating the league’s anti-drug policy by testing positive for a banned substance. Andersen’s suspension fell under the league’s category of “drugs of abuse,” violation of which is possible grounds for expulsion from the NBA under the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Andersen attempted to appeal the ruling througharbitration, but the arbitrator ruled to uphold his dismissal in March 2006. He was eligible for reinstatement effective January 25, 2008.
On March 4, 2008, the NBA and NBA Players Association granted Andersen’s request to be reinstated as an NBA player. The reinstatement was effective immediately, and the rights to his services belonged to his former team, the New Orleans Hornets, who signed him to a contract on March 5, 2008. On March 25, 2008, in a game against the Indiana Pacers, he played for the first time in an NBA game since being banned.
Return to Denver
Following the 2007–08 NBA season, Andersen was released by the Hornets. Andersen signed a one-year contract with the Nuggets on July 24, 2008. Andersen finished the season 2nd in the league in blocks per game at 2.42 per contest, despite a mere 20.5 minutes of playtime per game. His 5.68 blocks per 48 minutes played was the best in the NBA.
On July 8, 2009, Andersen and the Nuggets agreed on a five-year contract that could be worth up to $26 million. In order to help the Nuggets financially, the deal is backloaded and will pay Andersen $3.7 million in 2010–11.
His trademark has been his “Birdman” celebration, wherein he would cross his arms and flap his hands like the wings of a bird after scoring on an emphatic dunk or blocking a shot. He is known for brightly colored tattoos on his arms, chest, neck, back, hands and legs. He showed off those tattoos in PETA‘s “Ink Not Mink” ad campaign, appearing naked to protest the fur industry.